Beware Legislation by Rule
By Guest Columnist Nancy Churchill
On Jan. 8, 2022, “The Gateway Pundit” published a piece with a sensational headline: “Bill Filed In Washington Would Authorize ‘Strike Force’ To ‘Involuntarily Detain’ Unvaccinated Families – Zoom Meeting on Proposed Agenda on Jan. 12, ’22 …” When the story hit, friends from all across the state began reaching out to me, some of them in panic.
On one hand, I’m glad when Washington state politics make national news headlines. A bright light needs to be shined on the political process that is driving the toxic progressive policies in our state. And that headline had a big impact: over 7500 people logged into the meeting to weigh in on the action they thought was under consideration. Too bad that energy was misdirected.
On the other hand, I’m discouraged when the media outlets that I often read resort to hysterical and misleading click-bait “fake news” headlines. It’s time for the press to hold themselves to a higher standard. Honesty is the best policy when reporting the news. And while much of the content of the article was accurate, the headline was all “fake news”. The legislature was not considering a new law. The Board of Health was considering several rule changes. You cannot fix a Board of Health problem if you are calling your legislators.
What’s the difference between Laws and Rules?
In Washington, laws are made by our legislature, and can be found in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) (bit.ly/3qw9TZS). Rules are made by boards and agencies and can be found in the Washington Administrative Code (bit.ly/3ri7uRu). WACs have the force of law, but are not made by lawmakers. They are made by entities the legislature has created and given lawmaking power to. The WACs are how the Board of Health has made an end run around the legislature during the management of the COVID crisis for two two years.
The argument for the creation of the administrative state is that lawmakers cannot possibly be experts on all the topics that come before them, so they need to give some of their power to real experts who will be able to make better decisions. Unfortunately, the impact is that unelected bureaucrats have an enormous amount of power to make life and death decisions, with no significant check on their authority. We see this problem at every level of government. The lawmakers gave away too much power and kept too little oversight authority. Our country, economy, safety, and rights being destroyed by what President Trump rightly calls the “deep state”. On January 12th, the Board of Health met to consider updating rules, not pass laws. The laws it needed to come into compliance with were passed by the legislature before the COVID crisis hit. It published an agenda, and set a deadline for public comment that was only a few days after the agenda became available. Then, it refused to provide the meeting materials needed to make a thoughtful comment PRIOR to their deadline for comment. When Gateway story hit, and the outcry became too great, then they retroactively published a statement about “misinformation”, but it was too little, too late (bit.ly/3fukjmj).
The worst part of the misinformation was that it became a distraction from a very important citizen’s petition which was filed by Xavier Figueroa, Ph.D. on behalf of Informed Choice Washington. This petition (bit.ly/3qAL8fb) requested the Board of Health create a new rule to prohibit including emergency use products in the list of required childhood immunizations. (chapter 246-105 WAC) (https://bit.ly/325xwip).
Because so many people logged into the BOH meeting, the petitioners from Informed Choice Washington did not get ample opportunity to testify on behalf of their proposal. As a result, the board voted to reject the petition out right. It was a missed opportunity, and I hope Informed Choice of Washington will submit another petition on this matter.
Take Effective Action!
If you care about the possibility of the Board of Health adding the COVID-19 vaccination to the required-for-school list, please write to the Board of Health at email@example.com. State your case using facts and passion. Ask to be notified about the next meeting of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) that will be studying this possible rule change. You can find the meeting presentation from the first meeting here (bit.ly/3KakBgi).
Next, plan to get involved in politics this year. Pick your issue or candidate, and really become an expert or valuable team player. Like Virginia, we can flip our legislature red if you will join the fight for lower taxes, parents’ rights, and public safety!
Finally, visit influencingolympia.com to register for a fun, self-paced class that will give you tools and resources you need to have more of an impact on the lawmaking process during the 2022 Legislative Session.
Following politics and getting involved is very important when your party is the minority party! It takes special skills and teamwork to influence the members on the other side of the political aisle. Politics is frustrating, but it’s also fun and rewarding! Get involved in Influencing Olympia! With your help, we can make America great again, again.